The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior was a pastor, crusader and the youngest man ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. His name has become synonymous with the civil rights struggle.
He enrolled in Morehouse College at age 15 and found his calling. Before graduating with a sociology degree, he was ordained a minister. In 1955, King earned a PhD in theology from Boston University.
On August 28th, 1963, a quarter-million people marching on Washington, D.C. to demand civil rights heard his "I Have a Dream" speech. "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident -- that all men are created equal."
Two decades after that momentous speech, the third Monday in January was made a federal holiday commemorating his birthday. Since the first observance on January 20th, 1986, it has been an occasion for people to remember King's life and re-dedicate themselves to achieving that dream.
In 1964, at age 35, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1968, King went to Memphis to support a strike by sanitation workers, most of whom were black.
On April 4th, he was assassinated while standing on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel. His death sparked riots across America. The Lorraine has since been converted into a national civil rights museum.